Zipcar, a company that allows people to rent a car by the hour or day, added three Mazda 3’s, a compact four-door car, to its AU fleet this month.
Other cars, including BMW and Volkswagon models, are available for the same cost.
AU announced its partnership with Zipcar in August, and since then the Zipcar vehicles at AU have been the most used in the D.C. area, according to Gabe Klein, the D.C. vice president of Zipcar.
Zipcar has also partnered with George Washington, Georgetown and Howard universities, and one rental location is available at the Berkshire apartment complex on Massachusetts Avenue.
AU students and faculty can join the Zipcar service for $20 per year. Members can make a reservation online or by phone and can reserve a car for up to three days. After the reservation is made, members can swipe their membership card on the windshield they reserved and drive to their destination. Members pay $8.50/hour or $59/day.
“It is ideal for students or faculty members that don’t have a car, can’t afford a car, or don’t want to own a car for environmental reasons,” Klein said.
It can cost about $800 per month to maintain a car, including insurance, gas and repairs, according to a 2004 study by AAA. For a student who only needs a car to do errands an hour per week, the Zipcar cost would be less than $36 per month, according to Klein. Rates include gas, insurance and parking.
“It would be beneficial because I would not have to pay the parking fee that they have on campus,” said Cameron Parker, a freshman in the College of Arts and Sciences.
As of May 1 this year, both commuter and resident students will pay $832 per year to park on campus.
“I don’t think it will help the environment that much, but it is a good alternative that will help students save money,” said Kiyana Allen, a freshman in the School of International Service.
To rent Zipcar you can not have more than two driving incidents (this includes moving violations and tickets), and you must be at least 21 years old. However, the age limit can be lowered to 18 if AU agrees to pay for the insurance for the students.
“As a trial, Wellesley College [in Massachusetts] has done this and it has worked well on their campus so far,” Klein said.
Zipcar has said it hopes to expand its availability to the Washington College of Law in the future. For more information about Zipcars, go to http://www.zipcar.com/american.